Experience the Peaceful Power and Joy of a Meditative Walk
May 29, 2015 07:47PM
● By Nancie-Lynn Sheldon-Martin
Do you know about Unity Sarasota’s beautiful Sacred Labyrinth located at 3023 Proctor Road? All are welcome, and it is free to visit!
Experience a Walking Meditation!
The power of walking the path of this labyrinth lies in its simplicity. The labyrinth presents an orderly path to quiet the mind and, as the body moves into a peaceful rhythm of walking, one becomes more closely in tune with God. Step-by-step, one becomes more receptive to insight and illumination.
Walking the labyrinth is not something to learn or memorize, but something to experience. It is a walking meditation, a devotional act of worship and a sacred celebration of life.
There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth, just as there is no right or wrong way to pray. Walking the path is a personal experience, an opportunity for a “closer walk with God.”
The Labyrinth Tradition
Labyrinths have an ancient history, dating back at least 4000 years. Unity’s labyrinth is modeled after one laid into the floor of the cathedral at Chartres, France, in 1220. Over the centuries, Christian pilgrims and others have engaged in the prayer of the mind, body and heart that labyrinths offer.
The mystical tradition of labyrinths has been revived in recent years, thanks particularly to the work of Dr. Lauren Artress, Episcopal priest and author of Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool. People around the world are once again walking the path and engaging in its powerful process of spiritual transformation.
The Design of the Unity Labyrinth Is Felt to Be Exquisite
The design of Unity’s labyrinth is a replica of the one found in France. It consists of a single continuous path that winds into the center and back out again. A labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks or dead ends. One cannot get lost, and success is assured.
The labyrinth is an archetypal symbol of wholeness that invites one into a transformative prayer experience. Walking this mystical path is a personal pilgrimage to spiritual wholeness.
Suggestions for Walking the Labyrinth
Leave your cares at the entrance.
Walk in silence.
Clear your mind and become aware of your breath.
Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go.
You may pass others or allow others to step around you, at the turns.
At the center, you can stand or sit quietly for a time, then follow the same path out from the center.
Walking the labyrinth can be as a silent meditation, asking a question or seeking guidance.
The Three Known Stages of the Walk
First: Until you reach the center, the walk is intended to Shed, Release and Let Go of life’s demanding details. It quiets the mind.
Second: When you are in the center, you’ll find Illumination. Stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you. Then, slowly leave the center and return to the outer edge.
Third: At this point, you’ll experience Union – joining with God or your Higher Power or the forces at work in this world. Each time you walk the labyrinth, you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul is seeking.
When You Walk the Labyrinth…
Stop, relax and breathe deeply at the entrance. Realize that walking the labyrinth is a sacred activity, not to be rushed or forced. You may wish to set an intention before you begin your walk.
Walk slowly, following the winding path toward the center. Release all busy thoughts, worries or concerns. If you meet a fellow traveler on the path, simply step aside and pass with reverence.
When you get to the center, pause for a few moments and focus your attention on God or your personal Higher Power. Remain in a receptive, meditative state to receive illumination, insight, clarity and focus.
As you leave the center and return outward along the path, offer silent thanks and praise. This is a time for you to feel empowered, energized and grounded.
Here at Unity of Sarasota, our sacred labyrinth offers everyone another way to pray. It is located outdoors at the end of our parking lot outside the Fellowship Hall. It is open year-round, weather permitting. Up-lighting has been placed for your convenience during evening walks.
All are welcome to come and enjoy freely. Visit UnityOfSarasota.com to find out about the wonderful, enriching events and classes available for you to attend. To learn more about on-going activities at Unity of Sarasota, you may also join free our Meet-Up group: Sarasota Spiritual Growth Meet-Up Group at MeetUp.com/Sarasota-Spiritual-Growth-Meet-Up-Group/. It is easy to join and will keep you updated on the many events that Unity of Sarasota offers toward your personal enlightenment and divine journey, as well as meeting like-minded souls.